When Clients Want More Than Their Budgets Allow

Preston Bailey Blog, Pinocchio

Preston Bailey Blog, Pinocchio


Dear Readers:

I hope all of you had a relaxing weekend and are looking forward to a productive week. Today, I would like to continue my series addressing the lessons I have learned from the many mistakes I have made while transitioning through the process of working with clients, from the initial phone call to the execution of the event. This  week, I will be discussing the most challenging aspect of working on an event: Discussing pricing and the exchange of money.

Let me start this discussion by sharing a recent exchange I had with a client. Like many, this client was interviewing a number of designers, including myself. I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with this lovely woman during which she clearly stated what she wanted from her event, from start to finish. I was happy to accommodate her wishes but quickly noticed that her list of desires did not match the budget she stated in the beginning of the conversation. Having been in this business for over three decades, I have a very good idea of what things cost. It was clear to me that this potential client wanted a $300,000 wedding. This did not coincide with her $75,000 budget. Though I always try to avoid discussions relating to money at the first meeting, I felt compelled to tell her the truth.

Now, here comes the tricky part. It turns out that this potential client went to another designer who assured her that she could have everything she wanted for $75,000. My dear readers, I know I am not the cheapest company in the business, but let me speak candidly:  There is no way in hell that anyone could have done that job for that price without jeopardizing the clients needs. Either my potential client is being deceptive or this company is misleading her in order to secure the job.

What is your opinion on this matter? Do you feel I did the right thing in telling her what I believe to be the truth? What do you feel about planners and designers who promise things that are impossible to deliver? Have you ever known someone who deceived clients in order to secure a job?